A place I love: The riverfront at Greenwich

Written by Bronwyn Hill on 7 November 2014 in Feature
Feature

Bronwyn Hill explains why she loves going to her rowing club every weekend – and she hasn’t picked a genteel West London group! 

I come to Greenwich, on the south bank of the Thames in Southeast London, every weekend. There I scull on the river with friends from Globe Rowing Club (the clubhouse is on the left of the photograph).

There is a magical quality to being out on the river at low tide, watching the sun rise behind the old Naval College, with the Queen’s House and the Royal Observatory on the hill beyond. But it is a tough place to row. Our lightweight racing shells are not designed for the strong tides, high winds, flotsam and jetsam of the lower Thames. A far cry from Henley, Globe Rowing Club has its origins in the working river, when professional watermen competed for prize money. 

This tradition, and the challenging conditions, often turn club races into epic events. The most memorable for me was coxing an eight on very rough water at high tide. We were in second place, yards from the finish, when the boat mysteriously started to slow down. I shouted myself hoarse, urging my crew on. Moments later, the bowman put his hand up and announced: “We are sinking”.

As the boat quickly filled with water, I called “easy oars” (roughly meaning “Stop!”) as we sank lower in the water. The post-race inquiry revealed that the boat we had borrowed from a neighbouring club was very leaky in the bows. No harm done – other than to my reputation as a coxswain.  

It reminds me why, on days when the temperature drops below zero and the wind is up, we take refuge in the club house with a mug of hot tea, reliving these stories.

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Comments

Sharon (not verified)

Submitted on 10 November, 2014 - 07:53
Greenwich is in se18 London, it would help if people could get this right. Yes Greenwich is beautiful

Samera Owusu Tutu

Submitted on 13 November, 2014 - 17:50
Thanks Sharon, This has been corrected! Regards, Samera Owusu Tutu Online Editor, CivilServiceWorld.com

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